Speaker Paul Ryan scoffed Wednesday at Democrats' demands to only raise the debt ceiling for a three-month period that would push the risk of a default into December.
"I think that's a ridiculous idea," the Wisconsin Republican told reporters when asked to react to the proposal. "I hope they don't mean that."
Ryan suggested that a short-term debt limit increase would not benefit people in Texas and Louisiana who have to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
"They want to play politics with the debt ceiling?" Ryan said. "That will strand the aid that we need to bring to the victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur."
Ryan went on to call the plan "ridiculous and disgraceful" as well as "unworkable." While he didn't specify what Republican leaders prefer for a debt ceiling extension, Politico reports that they want a measure that would lift it through the 2018 midterm elections next November. Congress usually raises the debt ceiling for a much longer period of time than three months.
Senate Republicans are expected to attach a debt ceiling increase to legislation that would provide $7.85 billion in aid to the Harvey relief effort. The House is expected to vote just on the initial aid bill Wednesday and the Senate is expected to attach the debt limit and send it back to the House for a final vote.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, issued a joint statement Wednesday saying Democrats would offer votes for the plan as long as it includes only a three-month debt limit increase.
"Democrats are prepared to offer our votes for the Harvey aid package, and a short term debt limit increase of three months," they said. "Given Republican difficulty in finding the votes for their plan, we believe this proposal offers a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, DREAMers, and health care."
December is already expected to be a busy month for Congress because lawmakers will likely push the issue of 2018 government funding to that time.
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